By Bill Foley
Katrina Berg hasn’t wasted any time in her first weeks as the head coach of the Butte High volleyball team.
Berg was named head coach last month. Her appointment follows a seven-year stint as assistant coach under Dale Burgman, who stepped down following last season.
“I’m excited,” Berg said Thursday. “When this opportunity came up, I was more than excited. I’m excited to get things rolling.”
Butte High activities director Chuck Merrifield said Berg was one of four finalists for the job. Other finalists were Rebecca Schwartzmiller, who was also a Butte High assistant, Emma Hueber from Colorado and Wolf Point head coach Cody Larson.
Merrifield said Hueber and Larson pulled out before the district chose Berg.
“She did a good job as an assistant coach,” Merrifield said. “Hopefully she’ll have success.”
Berg, a 37-year-old native of Power, has worked at the Center for Physical Therapy in Butte for the past 13 years. After graduating from high school, she attended Montana Western before earning a degree from Montana Tech.
She played volleyball in high school, but not in college.
Since her hire was approved by the Butte school board, Berg has scheduled camps, began open gym and scheduled summer weights. (Click here for information and a camp registration form)
Berg also hired five assistant coaches, who have been approved by the school board.
The new coach said she has been brainstorming to find some ideas on how to improve a volleyball program in need of a jumpstart.
“There are going to be some changes,” Berg said. “Changes are scary, but I have big hope for them.”
Berg is planning on ways to engage girls in elementary and middles school to get them interested in the Butte High volleyball program. She said she envisions a mentor program, but said that could be a ways down the road.
The newest Butte High head coach thanked her old boss for giving her the opportunity to get into coaching more than seven years ago.
“I’m grateful to have been able to work with him,” Berg said of Burgman. “I have been fortunate to work alongside a lot of great people.”
She will continue to work with three of those coaches on a staff that will feature familiarity, new blood and big-time credibility.
Brianna Barsness, Burgman’s daughter, Geah Zahler and Schwartzmiller will serve as assistants for the Bulldogs. New to the staff are Megan Spofford, a former Montana State University volleyball player, and Leena Worrell, a Butte High graduate who played softball at Porterville College and Tennessee State.
Worrell is a member of the Porterville College Hall of Fame.
Berg said the Bulldogs have some serious potential as they look toward a resurgence in 2016.
Berg coached one of the Butte High freshman teams for the Bulldogs last year. She also coached club volleyball the past three seasons, so she is quite familiar with the talent on the Bulldog roster.
“I coached pretty much the same team for three years,” she said. “We’ve got a young team, but we’ve got an athletic team. These girls coming up have got their heart in it.”